Final Comments from Parish Council on A358 dual carriageway proposals
Final Comments on A358 dual carriageway proposals
from West Hatch Parish Council (WHPC), July 14th 2017.
You will have received The WHPC Interim Comments on the A358 dual carriageway proposal dated June 8th 2017 and the letter of agreement by the Parishes of West Hatch, Neroche, Trull, Hatch Beauchamp, Stoke St Mary and the unparished Killams and Mountfield, dated 14th June 2017. These WHPC Final Comments do not rehearse the points and arguments made in those letters, which we believe remain valid and to which a response is awaited, but emphasise the specific concerns of West Hatch parishioners.
1. Consultation Process.
Although we acknowledge that the initial consultation is not a statutory requirement, the consultation process to date has been deeply flawed and we are in total agreement with the view expressed by Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) in their formal consultation response that “Overall, the Council is of the view that the lack of engagement with it and other key parties has resulted in a consultation which could well be flawed and is based on an undeveloped evidence base. The Council urges in the strongest possible terms for Highways England to properly engage with it and other key parties before publishing information in the formal stage of consultation. The approach adopted by Highways England thus far is simply not acceptable.”
The dualling of the A358 throughout its entire length is unnecessary. Until such time as the A303/A30 to Honiton is completed, as intended within the next few years, the A358 problems associated with congestion, economic growth and safety can be resolved by a variation on the 2A/2B option:
- Proper development of a short Henlade by-pass incorporating a spur to the planned Somerset County Council (SCC) and TDBC NEXUS and Junction25 developments.
- No Junction A (25A), incorporate and improve into existing Junction25 plans.
- No Junction B at the end of West Hatch Lane, site beginning of by-pass as close to Henlade as possible using a Y junction and not a roundabout.
- Proper development of Southfield roundabout.
It is not necessary, nor desirable to increase the speed of traffic along the A358 from 60mph to 70mph, this merely exacerbates the congestion problems at either end. A 50 mph limit fully monitored and policed would reduce the number and severity of accidents and smooth traffic flow as has proved to be the case elsewhere, e.g. M25.
While WHPC appreciates that the proposals are at an early stage, the effect on the local community cannot be ascertained until we know more about the detail of the intersections and the number and location of the proposed local traffic crossing, joining and leaving points. Without such detail, the effect on local vehicular, cycle, equestrian and pedestrian traffic cannot be known. Of particular concern is the potential loss of access across the A358 for personal, agricultural, academic, ecclesiastical, business, etc, purposes and the resulting increases in journey times, costs, use of natural resources, pollution and congestion on the local roads through our villages. In particular access to the A358 at Bickenhall Lane and Capland is essential if unacceptable levels of traffic through the villages south of the A358 are to be avoided.
West Hatch Parish is already divided by the present A358 and we welcome the statement that “Furthermore, the protection and enhancement of public rights of way and access is encouraged, for instance where national road network severs communities and community facilities and acts as a barrier for walking and cycling, developers are expected to correct historic problems and ensure easier and safer access for NMUs.” WHPC believes that this should also apply to all NMUs including equestrian and to vehicular traffic.
An underpass linking West Hatch Lane to the Hatch Beauchamp road, which in turn should incorporate an underpass and new graded junctions with the A358, would immeasurably improve local access and movement of NMUs in West Hatch and the adjacent villages.
- A radical re-think of the present proposals should be conducted prior to the next consultation process. This should be based on a modified 2A/2B option and the acceptance that dualling the entire length of the road is unnecessary.
- A major junction at the end of West Hatch Lane (B) is not acceptable.
Details of the minor road options for junctions along the A358 need to be made explicit when the next proposals are submitted for consultation.
West Hatch Parish Council,